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TV News Roundup: Francia Raisa, Jordan Buhat Cast in Freeform’s ‘Grown-ish’

CASTING

Francia Raisa and Jordan Buhat have been cast as series regulars in “grown-ish,” the Freeform spin-off series from ABC’s “black-ish.” Raisa will portray Ana, an outspoken conservative freshman at Southern California University, and Buhat will portray Vivek, a first generation Indian-American freshman at Southern California University with a lack of self-awareness. R&B duo Chloe x Halle have also snagged recurring roles on the series as twin sisters Sky and Jazz, who are on the track team at the university. “grown-ish” follows Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson as she deals with the various difficulties of going away to college. The 13-episode series is set to premiere in 2018.

DATES

Disney Junior‘s animated series “Vampirina” will premiere Sunday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. with two back-to-back episodes simulcast on Disney Junior and Disney Channel. The series stars James Van Der Beek, Lauren Graham, and Isabella Crovetti as the Hauntley family, friendly vampires who have recently moved to Pennsylvania from their home in Transylvania. The stories follow Vampirina (aka Vee) as she faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town including making friends and attending a new school in the human world. Along the way, Vee learns that it may be easier to blend in with her peers, but it’s more valuable to celebrate the qualities that make each individual unique. New episodes will air every Monday and Friday in October.

This Is Life with Lisa Ling” returns to CNN for its fourth season on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In the eight-part investigative docuseries, award-winning journalist and author Lisa Ling travels across America immersing herself in communities that are unusual, extraordinary and sometimes dangerous. In the new season, Ling embeds with a heavily-armed militia in the Arizona desert, visits a secret world under the Vegas strip and attends one of the world’s biggest transgender beauty pageants in Thailand. She also explores the massive wave of Chinese immigrants coming to the U.S., polygamy outside of Mormon country, laws that criminalize teenage sexuality and what it means to be Black and Muslim in America. In the season premiere, “Sexual Healing,” she looks at up close and personal therapeutic techniques that address issues related to sex and intimacy. In addition, CNN Digital will debut “This Is Sex with Lisa Ling,” an exclusive digital series exploring the taboos around sex in America and the ways in which sexuality has been stigmatized, policed and politicized. Similar to the highly acclaimed multi-part documentary “This is Birth with Lisa Ling,” this three-part series hosted by Lingwill be fully available on Sept. 18 via CNNgo.

Sundance Now has announced two new premiere dates, for its miniseries “Rillington Place” and comedy “Back,” from “Veep” co-writer Simon Blackwell. “Rillington Place,” starring Tim Roth and Samantha Morton, will debut Thursday, Oct. 5. The BBC series explores the life of John Christie (Roth) and the real-life multiple murders carried out by the serial killer in London’s Notting Hill in the 1940s and 1950s and the subsequent tragic miscarriage of justice, which led to Timothy Evans being hanged for a crime he did not commit and contributed to the abolition of capital punishment in Britain. Presenting each episode from the separate viewpoints of Ethel, Timothy and finally Christie, writers Ed Whitmore and Tracey Malone drew on original source material from London’s National Archives, alongside new interviews with surviving relatives, to retrace the steps that led Timothy to be accused of murder whilst Christie went unchallenged until his arrest in 1953.

Back,” starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, will premiere Thursday, Nov. 2. The six-part acerbic comedy follows Stephen (Mitchell) as he tries to follow in his recently deceased father’s footsteps and take over the family business. But his plans are soon foiled by the unexpected return of his estranged foster brother, Andrew (Webb). While Andrew quickly charms the rest of Stephen’s dysfunctional family, including his mother Ellen, sister Cass and uncle Geoff, Stephen quickly begins to resent Andrew, who he sees as a glib, dangerous sociopath who’s about to steal his family, his business and his life. “Back” is produced by That Mitchell & Webb Company in association with Big Talk Productions for Channel 4 in the UK, commissioned by Fiona Dermott, and will premiere exclusively on Sundance Now in the US.  Executive Producers are Kenton Allen, Simon Blackwell, Matthew Justice, David Mitchell, Robert Webb.

DEVELOPMENT

NBC has given a put pilot commitment to”Closure” from writer-executive producer Josh Berman and executive producer John Legend. The series is a legal procedural based on the true story of Serena Nunn, who at 19 learned about the criminal justice system first-hand after being sentenced to 15 years for conspiracy to distribute drugs, despite her being a star student and her negligible role in the crime. When her sentence was finally commuted after 11 years, she went on to earn her college degree and eventually became a lawyer, using her unique perspective to defend her clients. The series will also be exec produced by Berman, Chris King, Legend, Mike Jackson, and Thais Stiklorius. Sony Pictures Television, Berman’s Osprey Productions, and Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. will produce. This news was first reported by Deadline.

IGN is developing six new series to debut on Facebook‘s Watch feature. The slate includes “IGN Expert Mode,” which provides exclusive commentary on everyone’s favorite video games; “Every…Ever,” featuring deep dives into some of gaming’s most iconic games; “Next Big Game,” offering a look inside some of the development of up-and-coming games; “IGN Brick Battles,” a stop-motion animated series that brings the worlds of popular TV and video game franchises alive; “Best. Game. Ever.,” which sees gamemakers, entertainers, athletes, comedians, and creators weighing in on their favorite games; and “Cosplay Makeover,” providing a passionate fan with a once-in-a-lifetime professional cosplay makeover experience.

EXECUTIVE NEWS

Katie Nelson has been hired at ABC News as the new executive producer of ABC News Content. In her new role, Nelson will lead editorial coverage for distribution across ABC’s sites, apps, social media, streaming services and emerging platforms. She will oversee daily news operations and help ABC develop innovative ways to tell stories that resonate with these important and rapidly growing audiences. Nelson was most recently news director at HuffPost, and will report to Colby Smith.

Karen Tatevosian has been promoted to executive vice president of U.S. business affairs for Sony Pictures Television Studios.  Karen will report to Corii Berg, senior executive vice president for business affairs, and will oversee negotiations with talent and partners across all platforms, as well as day-to-day operations and strategic counsel on the company’s network, cable and syndicated television productions. Tatevosian has worked with Sony for 13 years, driving negotiations for many of its leading scripted and non-scripted projects from development through production, including “The Blacklist,” “S.W.A.T,” “The Get Down,” “Justified,” “Rescue Me” and “Shark Tank,” as well as term deals with writers, producers and directors.

SPECIALS

The Paley Center for Media will partner with NBC to bring audiences “The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace,” an hourlong special airing Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. Ahead of the Sept. 28 return of the “Will & Grace,” the special will bring together the best moments from the series’ original eight seasons as well as new interviews with stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullaly; creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan; and director John Burrows. Also included is never-seen-before behind-the-scenes footage of the landmark series that altered the television landscape with its brilliant comedy and groundbreaking focus on gay characters and their life experiences. “Will & Grace” rejoins the NBC lineup Thursday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. for a 16-episode run. The network also recently ordered a second 13-episode season.

 

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